Kids who Have a Parent with Cancer

As a parent, one of the hardest things to do is tell your kids you have cancer. No parent would ever anticipate this coming…who would think about something so scary in their spare time; “Hey. if I get cancer one day, how would I tell my beloved kids?” A parent can’t wait too long to tell their kids something is wrong, no matter what age, kids pick up on things like this quickly.

I vividly remember the day my dad told me he had cancer. It was May 22, 2011. I thought it was going to be a regular day with Sunday brunch, study sessions, and movies with my family but then one word changed my whole life: cancer. Feelings of fear and uncertainty began to overshadow my dreams and aspirations in my academic and personal life. I then had so many thoughts and questions running through my mind.

Who’s my dad’s doctor? Is he a good doctor? Where did he go to school? Is the doctor even a ‘he’? What stage is the cancer? Where exactly is it? Am I going to be able live my life normally? Is my academic life going to be jeopardized? When does the chemotherapy start?

and the scariest of them all

Am I going to be okay? Are my mom and sister going to be okay? Is my own father [the man who taught me how to talk, walk, swim, bike, tie a shoelace, play guitar, solve physics and calculus problems; the man who taught me the meaning of life], going to be okay?

At times, we forget that the “C word” is hard for everybody in the family- not just the patient, not just the spouse, not just the older sibling, not just the younger sibling, but every single person. No matter what kind of cancer or what stage the cancer has progressed to, it is one of the scariest diseases for all countries across the globe.

As a kid, one of the hardest things to do is hear that your parent has cancer and you cannot do a single thing about it. At least in my case as a high school student I couldn’t cure my dad, no matter how many things I tried. I felt so helpless. However, as much as I could have done, I did with no doubt in my mind. Everything from finding healthy diets to learning how to use an oxygen tank required 200% of my energy and every inch of hope I had.

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